Ah, it’s been such a while since I last posted! Shame shame on me. I’m currently up to my eyeballs in work, and am at this moment sitting on a hotel bed in Hong Kong taking advantage of the fact that I don’t have to use a VPN to access WordPress. Hurrah for no GFW!
Anyways, here’s a throwback post from my last trip to India in 2013. The best part of India? Indian food. Ah yes. Haven’t had Indian food since I’ve been in China. Sigh.
I went to India for the first time in 2012, and it was way outside my comfort zone and all-in-all a valuable experience, but I gotta say, I never thought I’d go back. That time around we were traveling around Delhi and Agra (North India), and we mostly ate vegetarian curries … which I got super sick of after a while.
Then I went back to India in 2013 with some work/school colleagues, and again, I thought it would be the last time. It was an all-around better experience because we went to Mumbai, which was safer and cleaner, and we went in January as opposed to July. And the food! Much more varied. Egg bhurji, chicken lollipops, oh so much naan, and lots of masala chai. And now I kind of want to go again. It’d be nice to explore more, especially cities where you can still see the old colonial influence like Kolkata or Chennai, but I’d definitely stay in the developed areas and travel with a group given all the recent news.
Basically I think I’m getting a bit sick of China and Chinese food and want some adventure. I’m currently in Hong Kong, but still. Starting to get super restless, ya know?
Ah Mumbai, that was great fun. I was in Mumbai with some classmates last January and one of my classmates who had lived in Mumbai was showing us the sights. And probably one of the coolest things was Dhobi Ghat, a large open-air laundromat. All you could do was overlook and take some pictures, but it was still really neat because … where else do you find a giant open-air laundromat?
I don’t drink much soda. Well, that’s sort of a lie. I drink my fair share of Mountain Dew (but only when it’s necessary! … and it’s been necessary a lot lately). But I don’t drink dark-colored sodas like Coke or Pepsi at all and rarely drink clearish sodas like Sprite or 7-up. However, I really miss Limca. It’s only sold in India and it’s crisp and refreshing, kind of like Sprite or 7-up … but better. Maybe because it’s in India? I first had it in Delhi when I was there in 2011 (everyone in my tour group fell in love with Limca), and then I had it again this January when I was in Mumbai … and it’s just good stuff.
When I was in Mumbai I took in the “eye, etc.,” exhibit (which will run until March 09, 2013) by Anita Dube. She’s an Indian artist who was initially an art historian/critic before crossing that line. The exhibit is at the Lakeeren Gallery in Mumbai’s Colaba district, which is trying to become an artsy district like Chelsea. The exhibit was composed of a few installation pieces that were clusterings of eyes glued to the walls in weird shapes. Kind of creepy, kind of cool.
It was surprising to turn around and find a cluster of eyes growing from a corner of the space. The Lakeeren Gallery is fairly small and tight, which put the exhibit at a disadvantage. The gallery is a long rectangular shape, but not perfectly so. You enter at the end of one long wall; on the adjacent short wall was the exhibition description and on the short far wall was my favorite piece. Called “River Disease (Version 2),” this piece basically looked like a claw made out of eyes.
The worst part of the exhibit was the way it was fitted to the space. The eyes were cool, but the irregular space was … irregular. It’s an old building, so they did what they could, but it would have been nice to see some of the pieces that were on the long walls from afar instead of from oblique angles or up close. The lighting was quite annoying as well. It wasn’t very even, which could have been intentional, but it was distracting. And since the individual eyes were fairly low-relief little beads, it was all a bit two-dimensional. This flatness was only somewhat broken by the installations in corners … but a fold according to an existing fold is still surface, so it wasn’t as dynamic as a CLUSTER OF EYES could’ve been.
And on the subject of fast food in airports (the subject of my last post), here comes KFC! In the Mumbai airport! It’s the chicken zinger sandwich from KFC, which I ate at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (BOM) in Mumbai, as my last meal in India. Is it weird to eat American fast food in a foreign country? Yeah. But since the chicken zinger isn’t sold in the US, it’s totally fine.
Basically it’s a spicy crispy chicken sandwich. Not all that special and not all that great. The bread kept falling apart and the mayonnaise was too sweet, but the chicken was good although not as spicy as I expected/hoped. I remember the spicy chicken sandwich from a McDonald’s in India being much better, but that was roughly two years ago so I can’t say for sure. Anyhow, it was a decent way to end the trip … there’s only so much curry and kebabs I could take.
I have taken my last malaria pill. When I went to India I took malaria medication as a preventative measure, but the kind I took was doxycycline, which you have to continue taking a month after you return. Anyway … no more pills for me. It’s kind of weird, because I got so used to taking them that I’ve started drinking a cup of water in the mornings.
Work is ending really soon. School is ending soon. My stay in China is ending soon-ish. Time to get ready for my next adventure!
So I was just thinking: Lots has happened, and while individually each little thing doesn’t warrant its own post, together I think they do. Here are some of the little things.
My retainer broke, so I’m going to have to get a new one made once I get back to the States. This weekend I’m going to get new glasses (finally). The ones I have are almost three years old and they’re ridiculously scratched up. This evening after work I stopped by a bar near where I live called “I Love Shanghai.” It was ladies’ night so I had a free gin and tonic. I downed it and left … all in less than five minutes. My former boss asked me to do more teaching work, but I politely declined. I’ve been listening to a lot of country music lately. I bought two small mangos from the fruit stand across the street. I’ve been eating A LOT of chocolate. The night before last I made myself some macaroni and cheese and then proceeded to feel really horrible – but it was worth it. The weather’s getting warmer. Recently I’ve been taking taxis to school, and the cost of that is adding up fast. I’ve been planning my trip back home, which is making me kind of homesick.
Whew, that was interesting, eh? The below picture is a ceiling detail from Agra Fort … a fort in Agra, India.
I haven’t posted in quite a long time. And I have a really good reason why. Odd how I always say that, eh? Anyway, if you just peek at the below picture, I think you can guess the reason why I haven’t posted in a while. I went to INDIA. Wow. I can hardly believe that I actually went.
I was there for about a week, and the highlight of the trip was definitely the Taj Mahal. Because … it’s the Taj Mahal, people! Oddly enough, it was smaller than I had envisioned. Still very cool.
It was around 45 C (115 F) the entire week, but it actually wasn’t too bad. Almost every meal was curry, which at the beginning was a bit nauseating, but I really grew to like it, even vegetarian curry (which is pretty big for a Texan carnivore). Plus, butter naan is delicious carb-heavy goodness. When I got back to Shanghai, things felt really weird. I had this jam-packed week-long adventure in India and then came back to routine. Same school, same work, same people, same food. Sigh. It is nice to be back in Shanghai, where things are clean and I have all my stuff, but I kind of miss the excitement and spice of India.